Atrial dilatation is an expansion of the cavity of the left and (or) right atria while maintaining the normal thickness of the walls that form them. This condition is not an independent disease and is considered as one of the symptoms characteristic of a number of congenital or acquired pathologies of the cardiovascular or respiratory system.
The pathological mechanism of the development of atrial dilatation is based on the obstruction of blood flow through the atrioventricular openings, through which the ventricular and atrial cavities communicate.
The reason for the expansion of the cavity of the left atrium is most often a long-term increased pressure in the systemic circulation, due to systematic significant physical exertion. Another cause of right atrial dilatation can be atrial fibrillation, although in many cases it develops already as a complication of pathological expansion of the heart chamber. An increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary circulation leads to dilatation of the right atrium, which may be due to the following factors.
Depending on the characteristics of the pathogenesis, two forms of atrial dilatation are distinguished.
Minor or moderate atrial dilatation occurs without any clinical symptoms and is usually detected incidentally, withexamination for another reason, and in its essence is a diagnostic finding.
A significant expansion of the atria is accompanied by a deterioration in their pumping function, which leads to the appearance of arrhythmia, the development of chronic heart failure.
In the diagnosis of atrial dilatation, other instrumental methods are also used.
Atrial dilatation requires differential diagnosis with hereditary cardiomyopathies, myocarditis, ischemic disease, congenital and acquired heart defects, and dissecting aneurysm.
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In many cases, it is not possible to identify the cause that caused the development of atrial dilatation, and therefore the treatment is aimed at combating chronic heart failure. For this purpose, patients are prescribed. If it is possible to eliminate the cause of atrial dilatation, then their volume may gradually decrease and return to normal values.